Den sjette januar var det ein diskusjon i EU-parlamentet om statusen for fiskevernsona rundt Svalbard. Den polske EU-parlamentarikaren, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (jepp, det er sonen til den meir kjente Lech Walesa) stilte eit spørsmål til kommisjonen.
The archipelago of Svalbard was ceded to Norway under the 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty in order to guarantee an equitable legal regime for the area, including the non-discrimination principle in access to the archipelago’s fishing resources.
In 1977 Norway unilaterally declared the Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone (FPZ) and it claims that the non-discrimination provisions of the Spitsbergen Treaty do not apply in that zone. In 2010 Norway and Russia signed a maritime delimitation treaty in Murmansk concerning the Barents Sea. Some of the waters in the Svalbard FPZ are now east of the delimitation line (the Murmansk line).
Norway and Russia cooperate in the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission in the management of fish stocks of the Barents Sea. In recent years, this has led to the appropriation of fishing opportunities to the detriment of Member States.
It is important that the Commission take steps towards Norway, as in the absence of EU action Norway will resolve all of its issues as it alone sees fit.
1. Does the Commission believe that the Member States which are party to the 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty enjoy equal fishing rights in the Svalbard FPZ?
2. What is the Commission’s position regarding the legal status of the section of the Svalbard FPZ which lies east of the Murmansk line? Is this section deemed to be international waters beyond the Russian shelf or does it now form part of the Russian exclusive economic zone (EEZ)?
3. If EU fishermen have lost their right to fish in the Svalbard FPZ east of the Murmansk line, will the Commission consider claims for compensation?
4. What is the Commission’s position regarding the legality of the transfer by Norway to Russia of responsibility for part of the Norwegian EEZ in the Barents Sea (the special area)?
5. Does the Commission intend to participate in the 2014 meeting of the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission or others so as to counteract the misappropriation of Greenland halibut and redfish quotas in the Barents Sea?
Det er ein ganske interessant ordlyd i dette spørsmålet, spesielt med tanke på korleis han oppfattar tilhøvet til Russland. Han meiner at Noreg har gjeve vekk rettar til Russland som vi ikkje hadde rett til å gje vekk. Det er og utfordrande for Noreg om det er ei generell haldning i EU om at Noreg ikkje kan forvalte fiskeria rundt Svalbard slik vi gjer no.
Kommisjonen svarer heldigvis ganske uklårt:
Janez Potočnik, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, I would like to deliver this answer on behalf of my colleague, Commissioner Damanaki, who unfortunately was not able to attend today’s sitting. First I would like to thank Mr Wałęsa for drawing attention to these important questions. Let me underline the sensitivity of this important fishery-related issue. It concerns delicate aspects of international law and, more importantly, has a bearing on our relations with Norway which, at present and historically, has been our most important partner in fisheries and also other marine-related, including Arctic, issues.
It has been a consistent position of the European Union that the European Union Member States which are party to the 1920 Treaty of Paris relating to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) enjoy the same access rights as other parties to that treaty. As regards fishery management measures, acceptance by the European Union of fishery regulations proposed by Norway pertaining to the waters around Svalbard has been conditional on the regulations being applied in a non-discriminatory manner, based on scientific advice, and respected by all interested parties.
With regard to questions 2, 3 and 4 formulated by the honourable Member of the European Parliament, there is no established European Union position on those yet. The implications of the newly drawn ‘Murmansk Line’ for fisheries in the waters in question are still being considered within different Commission departments.
Finally, the Commission is unaware of the procedures by which the Norway-Russian Federation Joint Fisheries Commission operates. The Joint Fisheries Commission is a bilateral arrangement. It is not classified as a Regional Fisheries Management Arrangement and the Commission does not contemplate participating in its meetings. The Commission is unaware of any appropriation of Greenland halibut or redfish quotas in the area, so it has no opinion on this matter.
Det skal bli interessant å sjå kva komisjoen eventuelt bestemmer seg for å meine om desse spørsmåla.
Den norske haldninga er i alle fall klår:
Som kyststat har Norge i henhold til havretten rett til å etablere en 200 mils økonomisk sone rundt øygruppen og utøve fiskerijurisdiksjon i denne sonen. I samsvar med gjeldende havrett må fartøyer og borgere fra andre stater, som fisker i sonen, overholde regelverk, forvaltningstiltak og vilkår som er fastsatt i kyststatens lovgivning og forskrifter, og de må rette seg etter sistnevntes håndhevelsestiltak. I henhold til FNs havrettskonvensjon tilkommer det Norge, som kyststat, å sikre at de levende ressurser i sonen ikke blir overbeskattet. I samsvar med konvensjonen er det kyststaten som har myndighet til å gjennomføre disse tiltakene.